White House spokesman Jay Carney for a second day tried to smooth over tensions with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after reports that American intelligence agencies targeted her cell phone.
In her first public comments since news of the allegations surfaced, Merkel on Thursday said that trust between the U.S. and its partners must be restored and insisted there must be no “spying among friends.”
Carney sought to reassure Merkel and other allies that the U.S. is not monitoring them in its surveillance and stressed that the Obama administration is reviewing its spying programs to respond to privacy concerns at home and abroad.
“We have direct communications [with Germany] through diplomatic channels at the highest levels,” Carney said. “We monitor intelligence in the same way that a lot of countries monitor intelligence. The U.S. is reviewing the way we gather intelligence and reviewing the reports that caused tensions in our relationships and we will continue to do it.”
Carney said he was not “going to get into specific allegations,” but stressed that the United States values Germany and the rest of its allies and is reviewing the way the government gathers intelligence.
The White House has previously said the U.S. isn't “monitoring” and won't “monitor” Merkel's communications — but didn't say whether there was an instance in which her conversations were caught in a surveillance dragnet or when monitoring another source.
Merkel reportedly complained to President Obama in a phone call Wednesday after receiving information her cell phone may have been monitored. She reportedly told Obama that “spying among friends cannot be.”
"We need trust among allies and partners," Merkel said as at the beginning of a summit of European Union's 28 leaders. "Such trust now has to be built anew. This is what we have to think about."
She stressed that the U.S. and Europe "face common challenges. We are allies." But, she added, "such an alliance can only be built on trust."